The Woes Of An Aspiring Freelance Writer: What Am I Doing Wrong?

Advice on Becoming a Freelance Writer: Should This Freelance Give Up?

by Esayo Tetteh

How I began my freelance writing quest

I left formal employment in 2005 to lead a life of freedom from the oppressive walls of corporate and non-government establishments.

I consider myself a closet techie and have loved the Internet every since I got my first taste of the French version, Minitel (Médium interactif par numérisation d’information téléphonique/Interactive medium by scanning telephone information) in 1994.

It brought the world and information to my fingertips and being a sucker for information, I was hooked. I even found my primary school best friend, who hailed from France and had attended the same international school in Ghana with me some 40 odd years ago using Minitel.

I knew that whatever this phenomenon was, I wanted to be a part of it. A seed had been planted.

My online journey trying to build a successful, work-from-home business

Fast forward to 2007 when I seriously decided that I wanted to live and work online from the comfort of my home. I knew implicitly that there was money to be made and was looking for creative ways to do so.

Advice on Becoming a Freelance Writer: Should This Freelance Give Up?I didn’t necessarily want to learn a new skill at the time, I just wanted to use my skills to give back philanthropically and make money passively (in my sleep) and actively.

Of course on my journey, I came across the many ways of making money but there always seemed to be a price to pay in the form of a fee and no guarantee that I would make a dime, and I certainly wasn’t going to pay anyone to make money off my skills.

As I continued on my quest, I kept coming across the same freelance writing guru (Yuwanda Black) who spoke my language.

Her mantra was that you could make money online without spending money or very little if at all. This was my belief too.  If I already had the skill, why would I need to spend money or pay some stranger to use it? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

What am I doing wrong?

As a result of following Yuwanda Black, I created a WordPress website (I would appreciate candid critiques of my website); I bought a couple of her eBooks; and I ran several email campaigns from generic to sophisticated ads embedded in the body of the email — all to no avail.

I also joined Ezine Articles and Hubpages; even becoming an Expert Author on Ezine Articles, in addition to writing guest posts (which I still do). None of it has paid off.
Editor Note: Take the Freelance Writer’s Assessment Test to Determine If This is a Viable Career Option for You.

My ultimate dream was to write an eBook and I did, thanks again to Yuwanda’s e-Book writing tournament of which I believe I was part of her very first group of candidates. I uploaded my eBook first on eJunkie but now on Amazon simply because Amazon is free and I used Twitter (Esayo Tetteh (winagainstodds)) to market it, although I just have a small Twitter following,

I am constantly looking for work online and have posted ads on craigslist advertising my services. I apply to jobs on freelance writing boards and do my own generic searches and solicitation.

That being said, I can’t say anyone has shown the remotest interest in hiring me and I have yet to harvest any fruits from my online labour.

Should I give up my dream of becoming a freelance writer?

I follow other freelancers within and outside the writing industry and read comments regularly from freelancers just starting out and achieving success within weeks of doing so. I have followed freelancers from their inception stage to now having to outsource because they are inundated with work.

I must admit that I have received the odd email usually from people who want to pay me way below the poverty line and potential phone calls that lead to nothing, all of which I can count on one hand. I don’t give up easily, but my drive is waning.

Is this a sign from the universe that I must change course?

About the Author: Esayo Tetteh is Freelance writer and Communications and Public Health Consultant. You may contact her at winagainstodds[at]yahoo.com. Visit her online at http://winagainstodds.com/ and follow her on Twitter at @winagainstodds.

Legitimate Work from Home Job OpportunityP.S.: Learn everything you need to know to start a successful freelance writing business from the comfort of your home — and take up to 6 months to pay.


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    1. Truly appreciate the feedback Yuwanda. I am taking everything to heart. Rude awakening about my website. I may either just have to create a second website or change my writing approach to sound less of a hobby and more professional.

      I do send out a minimum of 20 emails a day or every other or sometimes per week. Even though I try and personalize each email, I think I need to re-look at this aspect again (as you’ve advised). I’ve gone from using email addresses with my name to my company name and even wondered if this may have caused my mail to go straight to their junk mail as a result.

      I am baffled and definitely going to do a “serious overhaul” and certainly looking forward to your analysis of my website.

      Truly grateful for your time.
      Esayo recently posted…At CrossroadsMy Profile

      • Thanks for being so receptive to my feedback Esayo; I appreciate that.

        One more thing I thought of for you, as you want to do health writing, you should target prospects in that niche if you’re not doing so already. I’ve always believed that targeting a niche makes it much easier to land jobs. Make sure you have great writing samples (in this niche) and put them on your site.

        Until next week! 🙂

    2. Esayo:

      First, thanks for being so brave and putting your “woes” out there for all to see. I appreciate that.

      As for advice, I’m going to do a critique of your site, which — IMO — needs a complete overhaul. It doesn’t say “business”; it says “hobby”.

      As for other advice, I don’t know what you say when you market, but if what you’re doing isn’t currently working, change it up. Also, look at your writing samples (are they letter perfect); check your rates (are they within industry accepted guidelines); check how often you reach out (are you CONSISTENTLY making 5, 10 or 20 touches per day).

      In short, if what you’re doing isn’t currently working, then you need to look at everything to see how it can be revamped/revised to get better results.

      Again, your website is a major negative in my opinion.

      FYI, see this post for some further advice: Freelance Writers: How to Land Jobs When You Have $0 & Your Marketing Tactics Aren’t Working – 5 Areas to Assess.

      And stay tuned for my detailed analysis of your freelance writing website next week. I’ll shoot you an email when it’s live, ok?
      Yuwanda, Site Editor recently posted…The Woes Of An Aspiring Freelance Writer: What Am I Doing Wrong?My Profile


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